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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”


HIV Prevention Bill Attacked by AIDS Organizations
Monday, 7 April 1997

WASHINGTON -- The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) says the "HIV Prevention Bill" sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will actually result in an increase in the spread of HIV and a rise in AIDS mortality.

The chief provision in the bill is the creation of a national HIV reporting system. According to NAPWA, states would be required to end anonymous testing and begin reporting the names and case histories of every new HIV diagnosis to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. 26 states in the country already supply this information to the CDC.

NAPWA and other opponents say abolishing confidentiality in HIV testing will discourage people seeking tests and treatment which will lead to an inevitable rise in mortality. Supporters say the bill is designed to protect the uninfected through early diagnoses and partner notification. The partner notification requirement (the CDC currently notifies partners in new AIDS diagnoses), and a new rule imposed on insurers to reveal HIV test results to applicants, have been strongly criticized by opponents.


The proposal has an iron enforcement mechanism which many groups, including the National Governor's Association (NGA), say is indefensible. If a state refuses to comply with all provisions in the Coburn bill, the state will forfeit federal Medicaid assistance. For smaller states, like Rhode Island and Vermont this would mean the loss of $200 - $550 million in federal payouts. For states like New York, the cost of non-compliance would run in excess of $12 billion.


-- C. Barillas, Editor